It is a case that causes some embarrassment among the leaders of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Sole candidate to succeed him for the presidency of UEFA at the congress of the body in Lisbon, Wednesday April 5, the Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin should not mention, at the podium, the sensitive case of Andri Pavelko, boss of the Ukrainian Federation.
Although Mr. Ceferin insists that UEFA is a ” clean house “, and while an ethical and disciplinary investigation has been opened and closed by the continental body on the thorny case of Mr. Pavelko, the UEFA president is not very attentive to the embarrassing situation of the Ukrainian leader. Elected to the UEFA executive committee since 2019, the latter is seeking a new term on Wednesday at the Lisbon congress.
Targeted by a preliminary investigation in Ukraine for alleged wrongdoing in connection with a loan from UEFA and the construction of a factory specializing in the manufacture of artificial turf for football pitches, Mr. Pavelko is suspended from his position as boss of his country’s federation until May 13, as a Kiev court has ruled, according to a March 13 court document seen by The world. Mr. Pavelko appealed against this court decision. The 47-year-old former deputy was arrested by the authorities of his country in the fall of 2022, then detained and released on bail with the ban on leaving Kiev without the authorization of the local authorities.
Mr. Pavelko “disputes all allegations”
According to our information, Mr. Pavelko is also indicted by the public prosecutor of the canton of Jura (Switzerland) for “false titles, threats and attempted coercion and private corruption”. A trial is to be held on October 12 at the Porrentruy court (canton of Jura). The Ukrainian leader, who had to resign on the sly from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee in 2020, is suspected of having pressured and threatened the Swiss investigative journalist Arnaud Bédat, at the origin in 2018 of the revelations about Mr. Pavelko in the Swiss magazine The Illustrated. The defendant also allegedly asked a relative to offer Mr. Bédat 50,000 euros in cash in order to find a settlement with the latter in the context of civil proceedings.
“Mr Pavelko should not be able to run for UEFA again. We do not understand this political support, ”says lawyer Giorgio Campa
“We hope for an exemplary conviction because it is a qualified, characterized, extremely serious attack on the freedom of the press.says Giorgio Campa, lawyer for Arnaud Bédat and The Illustrated. Even if the presumption of innocence must be respected, institutions must demonstrate exemplary behavior and ethics above all suspicion. Mr Pavelko should not be able to run for UEFA again. We do not understand this political support. » ” Mr. Andri Pavelko contests all allegations of wrongdoing in any proceedings conducted by Swiss or Ukrainian authoritiesretorts the Swiss lawyer of Mr. Pavlenko, Philippe Vladimir Boss. In Switzerland, Mr. Pavelko has provided compelling evidence that he was presiding over a session of Parliament at the time the alleged offense was committed. We have been informed that Mr. Pavelko’s lack of guilt in Ukraine is also confirmed by relevant evidence. »
Already questioned in 2019
“As far as possible under current conditions, we are in regular contact with Mr. Pavelko’s Ukrainian lawyers and with Mr. Pavelko. They are convinced that the Swiss and Ukrainian affairs were carried out by the former leadership of the Ukrainian Football Federation, which is closely linked to the Russian Federation, and that all the actions and events mentioned are just another attempt to dislodge Mr. Pavelko from the head of the Ukrainian Football Federation “, adds the Swiss lawyer of Mr. Pavelko.
In February 2019, the French association Sherpa had already unsuccessfully called on UEFA to reject Mr. Pavelko’s candidacy for the UEFA executive committee, denouncing the legal cases surrounding the Ukrainian and a “accumulation” between his activities as a parliamentarian and his mandates as a sports leader. “UEFA continues to monitor the situation regarding the ongoing legal proceedings against Mr. Pavelko in Ukrainethe body reacts today. We have no further comments to make at this stage, as in the current circumstances, the principle of the presumption of innocence should be taken into account. » Or the art of kicking into touch before the new coronation of “King” Ceferin.